In the Darkness Bind Them

by Henrika

Pairing: Gandalf/Sauron, Gandalf/various uruk-hai, Gandalf/Saruman

Rating: NC-17

Summary: AU; Sauron has regained the One Ring and won the war. Gandalf is trapped. Will the Istar be able to resist the Dark Lord's attempts to break him?

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. They belong to J. R. R. Tolkien. I make no money of this.

A/N and warnings: This story is very dark and deals with disturbing matters like graphic violence, graphic rape, torture, humiliation and much more. If this is not your cup of tea, now is probably the time to turn back. You have been warned!

Archiving: My own site, Lord of the Rings - my Gandalf slash fiction and art and Meddling in the Affairs of Wizards (hopefully!) Others, please ask first.

Dedicated to: Nefertiti, for so kindly helping me with beta and suggestions. Without you this story would probably still be in a file somewhere in my PC. Many hugs to you, my dear!

Chapter 15

When the door to his room opened the following morning Gandalf was still asleep. The click of it slipping back into its place, although faint, caused him to jerk awake in terror and believe that it was Sauron who had come back for him.

However, it was not the Dark Lord but Saruman. Gandalf breathed a sigh of relief, but that feeling did not last for long after he saw how his fellow wizard looked. Saruman's face was discoloured and swollen; one eye was completely sealed shut; and his lips were split and seemed to have swollen to twice their normal size. And all the bruises...

When Saruman began to approach him, Gandalf could also see that his carriage indicated that he was in a lot of pain.

"Saruman!" Gandalf exclaimed, eyeing the abused Istar from head to toe. He was absolutely dismayed. What had really happened last night?

Saruman did not speak until he sat down in the usual chair by Gandalf's bed and failed to hold back a shrill cry when the pain seared through his abused backside.

"Saruman, what happened?" Gandalf gasped, leaning forward to place his hand on Saruman's arm. "What did he do to you?"

Gandalf was aware that he also had nasty strangulation marks on his throat and a welt on his face that told of the slap Sauron had dealt out yesterday, but compared to what Saruman had been through it suddenly seemed inconsiderable.

"Was it Sauron?" Gandalf asked, though he naturally already knew the answer.

Saruman nodded. "Yes, Gandalf..." he said. His voice was hoarse and dry, as if he had spent much of last night screaming or crying. "He came to me last night after leaving your chamber, to punish me. He knew."

"I know," Gandalf said meekly. "I tried to deny it at first, but it was no use. I wanted to stop him you, so I tried to tell him that the idea was mine and mine alone, but... I am so sorry, my dear. I never wanted this to happen."

Saruman kept staring down at his own hands lying on his lap. He could tell that Gandalf was sincere, and although he had Gandalf to blame in this, he could not really be angry with him, not now. Gandalf was a victim in this, just as he was, and they should be sticking together.

"I know you are sorry, Gandalf..." he murmured, still not looking up. "I'm sorry, too. Did he... did he hurt you last night?"

"Not really, no," Gandalf replied, dismissing his own bruises and welts. "But you... What did he do, Saruman? Will you tell me? Not your ear..."

Saruman held his long hair back to show Gandalf that his right ear was still in place. When Gandalf saw it, he breathed a sigh of relief.

"Then what? He just... beat you?"

Gandalf was well aware that the words "just" and "beat" did not go together, at least not when it came to Sauron, but still a few bruises - no matter how nasty - were a small price to pay compared to mutilation.

"I can show you..." Saruman replied and began to unfasten his robe. He let it slip down from his shoulders and down into a heap on the floor. Blood - though in a small amount - still soaked through the fabric, and wearing the garment made his wounds burn with continuous pain. It was actually a good feeling to get rid of it.

Saruman had many more bruises on his pale body, and Gandalf failed to hold back a gasp when he saw the red lines crisscrossing his fellow wizard's back. He had been whipped again, and these new wounds looked angry and painful.

"Did Sauron whip you?" Gandalf asked, placing a gentle hand on the Istar's shoulder, very careful not to accidentally brush the wounds.

Saruman nodded. He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell Gandalf that Sauron had not stopped at that, but he was quite sure that even if he didn't tell straight out, Gandalf would probably notice it from the way he moved and acted.

"That is not all..." he murmured, twisting and turning his long-fingered hands.

"No? What more did he do?" Gandalf asked, brushing Saruman's hair back from his face.

There was silence. Saruman simply could not induce himself to say the words. He just sighed deeply and waited for Gandalf to repeat his question, but instead of asking again, Gandalf said, "He... raped you?"

"No, not he," Saruman explained. "But since he did not want to carry out the rape himself, he ordered one of his beasts to do it."

Gandalf sighed, feeling very bad, because he knew that it was partly his fault that such a thing had happened to Saruman. He regarded his fellow wizard's abused frame with sad, compassionate eyes and tried to look for signs indicating that Saruman blamed him. To his surprise, he found none.

"Are you badly hurt?" he asked.

"The bleeding has stopped. I'll live," Saruman replied hoarsely.

"I am so sorry... I never wished that to happen to you..."

"I know," Saruman said, and Gandalf even saw the ghost of a smile flickering over his swollen lips. "Don't be sorry, Gandalf. This was not your fault. I am not angry with you."

"Thank you."

Gandalf wanted to embrace his fellow Istar and hold him close, but he also knew that any kind of physical contact would be painful for Saruman now. Even the slight weight of his robe was. Therefore, he just placed his hand atop Saruman's and gave it an encouraging squeeze.

Saruman shivered. He was getting cold without his robe, but at the same time his wounds did not burn as much without the weight of it. Finally, he decided to put it back on. Walking the hallways of Barad-dûr naked was not to be recommended, and he knew it would get better in time. The course of time healed all wounds, they said.

"Gandalf..." the fallen wizard said slowly, letting the rest of the sentence trail off, as though he was hesitant about continuing.

"Yes, Saruman?" Gandalf asked, trying to make eye contact with Saruman, but the other Istar averted his eyes.

"I brought you something..." Saruman continued and reached into his pocket.

Gandalf gasped when he saw the object Saruman was holding. First he refused to believe it. It was a dagger. Just a short, black uruk-dagger with a blunt handle and a rusty blade but a dagger nonetheless, even though it looked awfully misplaced in the wizard's slim, pale hand.

Now Saruman raised his head and met Gandalf's eyes properly for the first time after the assault. "Take it," he said, handing the dagger to Gandalf. "Just a word of advice, though... If you think you can do it - go ahead.... If you don't...don't."

"It cannot be..." Gandalf whispered, still not quite believing it. "Saruman... what made you change your mind?"

"I think you know the answer to that question, Gandalf," Saruman replied sarcastically. "Anyway, I won't give you the satisfaction of telling you how right you were, because it is not needed. All I say now is that you should know what you're attempting. If you try, and fail..."

The wizard went quiet. The mere thought of what Sauron would do with them if Gandalf's attempt to cut the ring from his finger failed made the blood go cold in his veins.

"As long as you are prepared for that, and I mean...sure."

Gandalf nodded slowly, holding the dagger in his hand, scrutinizing it. He would have preferred one of those beautiful, long, white elf-daggers over this, but the blade was sharp, and it would do. Besides it was small and easy to hide under the mattress or even under the pillow.

"Thank you," he said gravely.

"You know how much I fear him... I still do, but... This cannot go on. Do you think you can do it?"

Gandalf sighed. "Well...we have to try something, don't we? To be honest, I think I have a fairly good chance. I must make sure he doesn't see it coming."

"You only have once chance. If that fails..."

"I know," Gandalf interrupted. "If I fail, I won't get a second one. I am aware of that, and I will take the risk. Will you?"

Saruman nodded silently. "I will," he said at last. "But Gandalf... if we do succeed, against all odds, then what do we do?"

"We destroy it, of course," Gandalf replied. "What else?"